Here to Help: Allegra Swift and George Tiong

Meet Allegra Swift and George Tiong. UC San Diego’s first scholarly communications librarian and a customer experience specialist who help our students, researchers and faculty with everything from publishing their work to navigating the Library and its vast resources and services. Both exemplify what it means to be a dedicated library professional eager to help our users achieve academic success.

Allegra Swift | Scholarly Communications Librarian

Describe your role at the Library.

I provide services and resources for UC San Diego researchers and scholars across all disciplines to improve access, reach, impact and sustainability of their scholarship and research. For example, an author can ask about funds for article publication charges (APCs); seek help translating their author/publisher agreements; request copyright or author rights guidance; inquire about best platforms and best practices for publishing a journal or course material; or ask how to enhance their reputation and communicate the impact of their research.

How can scholarly communications help students and faculty achieve their academic goals?

The publishing landscape is rapidly evolving. Expanding our understanding of who gets to publish and what is considered a publication benefits everyone from undergraduate students to the most senior researcher, and in turn, benefits the university and the public. The Library facilitates open access publication of a variety of research and scholarly outputs. When barriers to access are removed, authors can make an impact on a global scale.

Tell us about a collaboration you are proud to have worked on.

It’s hard to choose, but author referrals from our librarians and colleagues at the Teaching + Learning Commons often result in the most innovative and interesting collaborations. I have assisted several authors who wanted to publish textbooks without the commercial publisher constraints or high costs to students. We found openly licensed content to include, I guided them on publication best practices, and ensured the work is discoverable on the internet. It’s gratifying to help authors publish the way they want to and help students access the material without cost.

What was the outcome of that collaboration and what impact did it have?

Open access textbooks have been favorably reviewed and used by educators and students beyond this campus. Student learning has improved and they are thankful they don’t have to pay hundreds of dollars for a textbook. One success story is that of astrophysicist and UC San Diego physics professor Tom Murphy. His textbook “Energy and Human Ambitions on a Finite Planet” has been downloaded by more than 10,000 individuals across the globe in one year! The book was featured in the university’s signature newsmagazine which is distributed weekly to nearly 110,000 readers, and it has been widely promoted on Twitter by internationally known scientists, educators, journalists, students and the public.

What is one thing about your role that might surprise users?

Everyone knows that you can find books and journals in a library; not many people know that there are people here who can help you publish.

What else would you like users to know about the Library’s scholarly communications offerings?

Scholarly communications is not just about books and journals. You can publish data, digital collections, technical reports, educational materials in a wide variety of formats, or really anything that contributes to the scholarly conversation.

Contact Allegra:

George Tiong | Customer Experience Specialist

Describe your role at the Library.

I provide frontline customer service, in-person and virtually, at both Geisel Library and WongAvery Library. I am one of the first people users see when they walk in and I am always ready to assist. Whether it be helping with wayfinding, checking out materials, or troubleshooting library account or tech issues, I take great pride in being able to help students and other visitors find what they need and enjoy their experience at the Library.

How do you help students and faculty achieve their academic goals?

By helping our users navigate the Library and the resources available to them and connecting them with the appropriate experts. Assisting a user who is pressed for time with printing, for example, really goes a long way. It may not seem significant, but the relief on a person’s face when I guide them is priceless. Each day, I go home feeling good about playing a small part in helping others achieve their academic goals.

Tell us about a collaboration you are proud to have worked on.

Since the pandemic, I have put together a few short how-to videos to help users understand the in-person and virtual assistance available to them. I collaborated with various colleagues at the Library and I am most proud of the first video that I created in partnership with a reference librarian, “How to Access Hathi ETAS (Emergency Temporary Access Services) Materials.”

What was the outcome of that collaboration and what impact did it have?

The reference librarian I collaborated with put together the script and I edited the video and provided a voiceover. I think the video really helped many of our users understand what and how to access Hathi ETAS materials, especially during a time when in-person services were suspended due to the pandemic.

If you could tell students and faculty one thing about the Library’s resources, services and spaces, what would that be?

Take advantage of the resources available to you. It always shocks me whenever a student, faculty or university employee seems surprised about the vast resources and services available to them. For example, our resource sharing across the University of California (UC) system. Surprisingly, many are not aware they can access materials from all 10 UC libraries. What’s great about it is that, aside from being free, the user does not need a separate library card to request an item from a different UC library. After signing-in to their online account in UC Library Search, they simply select “Request through Interlibrary Loan” and the item will be sent to UC San Diego for checkout.

What is a surprising fact about you personally?

When walking into Geisel Library or WongAvery Library, I am the guy many people usually notice right away because of my business suit. My appreciation for suits came at a very young age watching mob movies like “The Godfather” with my dad.

Contact George: